Famed for its ritzy casinos and nightlife, nature may not exactly be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Nevada.
Truth be told, there’s a whole lot more to the Silver State than slot machines and parties. If you venture outside of Las Vegas, you’ll be in for a treat with all the incredible landscapes Nevada is dotted with, all of which range from alpine lakes tucked away in mountains to expansive red rock deserts and scenery that looks straight out of another planet!
If you’re currently on the lookout for destinations on your Nevada road trip for incredible views, make sure these 7 spots are on your radar!
1. Valley of Fire
Located under an hour away from Las Vegas, Valley of Fire offers some of the most striking landscapes in the entire world, making it a perfect place to get a taste of Nevada’s desert magic on a day trip away from The Strip.
Dotted by Aztec sandstone formations, Valley of Fire’s name derives from the effect the sunlight creates when it hits the rocks, making its red, orange, and pink hues look as though they’re fire!
During your visit, make sure you check out Fire Wave, a dazzling white and red zebra print sandstone as well as Pastel Canyon (also called Pink Canyon), both of which you can access by hiking easy trails perfect for first-timers in the desert.
A few recommended hikes to start exploring are the White Domes Hike, Beehives, and Rainbow Vista trails! It’s one of the most epic spots to explore in the state, unmissable on a family road trip of Southwest USA.
2. Hoover Dam
Built on Black Canyon over the Colorado River right on the border between Nevada and Arizona, Hoover Dam is the highest concrete arch dam in the United States. It was built during the Great Depression and today, it continues to work as an important water reservoir and electric generator.
During your visit, you can kayak, cross the marvel that is Memorial Bridge, spot bighorn sheep, or take a tour through the power plant, all with amazing views of nearby Lake Mead and the Colorado River!
3. Red Rock Canyon
If exploring the desert is what you’re after, there’s no better place to do that in Nevada than at Red Rock Canyon. Even though it’s located only 15 miles away from Las Vegas, Red Rock Canyon is still somewhat of a hidden gem, making it a great place to visit if a little privacy is what you’re after.
Featuring otherwordly-looking red formations protruding from the ground and red rock faces, visiting Red Rock Canyon is guaranteed to make you feel as though you’ve been transported right into the heart of Mars.
If you don’t mind the heat, hiking a few of the park’s trails is a wonderful way to experience what hiking in the desert is like. If you’d rather not break a sweat, though, you can also explore Red Rock Canyon by driving the 13-mile Scenic Drive, which is dotted by overlooks providing fabulous vistas of the park’s highlights.
4. Great Basin National Park
Home to an abundant array of wildlife, idyllic lakes, mysterious limestone caves, ancient bristlecone pine groves, striking peaks, and glaciers, you could pretty much spend your entire trip here and feel as though you’re visiting several different destinations in one go!
Moreover, thanks to its remote location and low humidity, Great Basin is one of the best places for stargazing in the entire country. If you happen to be visiting Nevada during September, make sure you plan on attending the Annual Great Basin Astronomy Center which takes place right inside the park!
5. Lunar Crater National Natural Landmark
Ever wondered what walking on the moon would feel like? While trips to outer space aren’t yet possible for the general public, Lunar Crater National Natural Landmark is as close as you can get to one!
Home to lava flows, ash hills, and striking cinder cones, Lunar Crater National Park’s landscapes feel almost other-worldly. Its name derives from two large holes in the ground that, while not actual craters, look exactly like ones!
6. Sand Mountain Recreation Area
As one of the must-do stops on the Loneliest Road of America (one of Nevada’s most remote and scenic highways), Sand Mountain Recreation Area is an enormous mountain created by sand that sits in the middle of a desolate desert landscape.
The scenery itself makes the park worth visiting, but what makes this place so unique is the fact that it happens to be home to singing sand, a rare phenomenon that causes the sand to generate a sound emission, which basically means you’ll get to hear “whistles” as you walk around the park.
Pro tip: Sand Mountain Recreational Area is home to Sand Mountain blue butterflies, an endangered species that can only be found here!
7. Lake Tahoe
With the Sierra Nevada Mountains looming in the background, Lake Tahoe is one of the dreamiest sights in the entire state, especially for those who love alpine scenery.
Summer brings in all sorts of fun in the snow activities, including hiking, canoeing, paddleboarding, or sunbathing at its white sandy beaches. Come winter in Lake Tahoe, sports like skiing, snowboarding, and ice-skating become the stars of the show.
Regardless of the time of the year, make sure you take a hike up to Emerald Lake, which is easily the most idyllic spot in the entire of Lake Tahoe. Another great way to fully experience the best the lake has to offer is by driving the Lake Tahoe Scenic Loop!
Have you ever visited any of these places in Nevada? What were your favorite views? Let me know in the comment section below!
More Incredible Views And Places of Interest in Nevada
Nevada is home to a diverse range of state and national parks along with nature reserves and monuments. In addition to those we’ve highlighted above, you may also be interested to learn more about:
National Parks In Nevada
- Great Basin National Park
- Death Valley (partial)
Nevada National Monuments
- Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument
National Wildlife Refuges/Areas
- Anaho Island National Wildlife Refuge
- Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
- Fallon National Wildlife Refuge
- Moapa Valley National Wildlife Refuge
- Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge
- Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge
- Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge
- Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge
- Winnemucca National Wildlife Refuge
National Forests in Nevada
- Humboldt National Forest
- Inyo National Forest
- Jarbidge National Forest Campground
- Pavalak National Forest Campground
- Pine Creek National Forest Campground
- Sawmill National Forest Campground
- Toiyabe National Forest
Nevada National Recreation Areas
- Lake Mead National Recreation Area (partial)
Nevada National Recreation Trails
- Mount Charleston National Recreation Trail
- California National Historic Trail (partial)
Nevada National Natural Landmarks
- Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park
- Hot Creek Springs and Marsh
- Lunar Crater
- Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge
- Timber Mountain Caldera
- Valley of Fire
State Parks in Nevada
- Beaver Dam State Park
- Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park
- Cathedral Gorge State Park
- Cave Lake State Park
- Cave Rock State Park
- Dayton State Park
- Echo Canyon State Park
- Floyd R Lamb State Park
- Fort Churchill State Historic Park
- Ice Age Fossils State Park
- Kershaw-Ryan State Park
- Lake Tahoe State Park
- Snyder Meadows State Park
- Spring Mountain Ranch State Park
- Spring Valley State Park
- Valley of Fire State Park
- Van Sickle State Park
- Walker Lake State Park
- Ward Charcoal Ovens State Park
- Washoe Lake State Park
More Nevada Road Trip Tips
- Think you’ll visit all 15 of Nevada’s State Parks? Pick up a Nevada Passport and take on the Passport Challenge to win yourself an annual pass.
- If you want to extend your trip onwards through the southwest, check out our 7-day Southwest itinerary.
- If you’ll be road-tripping between states in the southwest, be aware of time differences! Nevada is on PST (Pacific Standard Time) in winter and PDT (Pacific Daylight Time) in summer, the same as California. Heading east though, Arizona stays on MST (Mountain Standard Time) throughout the year. Utah, on the other hand, follows MST in winter but switches to MDT (Mountain Daylight Time) roughly mid-March to mid-November.
- Looking at Nevada over the hottest summer months? The desert can be brutally hot so make sure you set out with plenty of water and observe our desert driving tips.
- Never forget a road trip essential again with our downloadable family road trip checklist.
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